Residents warned not to attempt to put wildfires out themselves |

Residents warned not to attempt to put wildfires out themselves

AP PhotoA firefighter stands guard as his comrade uses a drip torch to start a burnout fire near the Diamond Valley subdivision north of St. George, Utah, Thursday, June 30, 2005. Fire officials reported some progress Thursday on southwestern Utah fires. They also classified the fires burning north and west of St. George as the Diamond Complex. It includes the Diamond Valley, Wilde Canyon, Plateau, Jarvis Peak and Cottonwood Creek fires.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A local firefighting official is urging citizens to not try to put out wildfires themselves.

Hal Coombs, assistant fire management officer for the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Center, said people put themselves in danger by responding to fires and should leave it to the experts.

“The risk to them is pretty high. We can’t say, ‘No, you won’t,’ but we do discourage it because of risk,” he said.

On Friday, citizens were the first to respond to a fire in the Mitchell Creek area at the western edge of Glenwood Springs.

Coombs said firefighters have training in areas such as identifying safety zones in case a fire acts up, and have access to information such as weather forecasts. They also have special equipment, including fire shelters and protective clothing, and have air support.

Coombs said a Rifle resident was burned just last year when he used a track hoe to try to fight a fire.

The 1994 Storm King Fire, which claimed the lives for 14 firefighters 11 years ago this week, resulted in some second-guessing from residents who thought crews should have responded to the fire earlier. Some even said they had wished they had put it out themselves when it was small.

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